Government moves to extend cull could prove lethal for two celebrity badgers

Fears are growing for two hand-reared badgers who appeared on a popular BBC TV show on Saturday 17th March, following moves to extend the badger cull on to land near their release site.

Gnat and Bumblebee appeared on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s BBC2 show Hugh’s Wild West . They were filmed last year while being cared for by staff and volunteers at the Secret World Wildlife Rescue centre in East Huntspill, which rescues, rehabilitates and releases British wildlife that has been abandoned and injured. Following the responsible protocol for the rehabilitation of badgers, the cubs were tested 3 times, a month apart, for Bovine TB and were negative.

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The Wild Blog, part 8

You might have seen us on the news at the start of this week. Our founder and advisor Pauline was on BBC Points West talking about the heron we have on site, and how the recent cold weather has affected British wild birds. Publicity like this is great for us, as it gets our name out there and if people find an injured animal they are much more likely to call us for advice.

The heron enjoying being outside

The heron that was the centre of this publicity is doing really well! He came in to us in a very weak condition as he had been unable to find food. After a bit of warmth and TLC from our animal carers he was soon back to full health. This week he was moved from his indoor enclosure to our water paddock, where he will build up muscle ready for release back into the wild. Sarah, who has been looking after him, said: “We lost so many herons as they are so nervous and poorly by the time they reach us, so it was wonderful when this skeletal heron took fish from my hand. He has continued to improve and put on weight.”

Sarah releasing one of the lapwings

We had a lovely ending to the week when we released a group of lapwings that came in during the snow. These beautiful birds were close to death when they arrived, as they hadn’t been able to find any food. Lapwings often feed at night in moonlight but many were bought to us by people who found them cold, exhausted and starving in their gardens. After feeding them up and a period of rehabilitation they were soon ready to go back to the wild. Sarah had the lovely job of releasing them, and seeing the fly free. She said: “It’s not easy to care for these kind of birds as they are so nervous but by feeding them on mealworms and waxworms, we have been able to get them back up to their normal weight and ready for release – it’s the best part of my job!” We wish the little guys lots of luck!

 

A delivery of a new marquee rounded off the week. Our old one was damaged during the high winds at the start of the year, and we have managing without for months. Now we have a nice new one, all ready for our Easter Family Fun Days, which take place on Friday March 30th and Saturday March 31st. It’s a free event and there will be lots going on, so we hope many of you will be able to join us!

 

Hugh’s Wild West and Secret World’s badger cubs

Secret World’s badger cubs get starring role on BBC 2

Meet Bumblebee and Gnat, two badger cubs we looked after last year. Gnat came to Secret World last May, weighing just over 500g, a quarter of the size he should have been. Although small for his age, he soon became friends with another badger cub Bumblebee and they had many hours of rough and tumble fun together, Gnat holding his own against his larger friend! Both were joined by another two cubs and successfully released as a family unit last last summer.
See them on Hugh’s Wild West (aired at 6pm Saturday on BBC2) with River Cottage’s Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. 

Surprise Baby Bat Born at Secret World

Staff at Secret World Wildlife Rescue in East Huntspill were surprised when one of the bats in their care gave birth.

The pipistrelle bat has been in the care of Secret World since December and was brought in having been disturbed from hibernation and found to be severely underweight – too underweight to be released immediately.

While the bat was recovering, staff were surprised by how many mealworms she was eating – double the amount for a bat her size and sex.

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Legacy Day to Encourage Donations to Wildlife Charity

Following the successful launch of its Make a Will Week last year, Secret World Wildlife Rescue in Somerset has partnered up with three local law firms to host a Legacy Day on Saturday 10th March.

In preparation for Secret World’s Make a Will Week (9th to 13th April), supporters are being invited to attend a Legacy Day to learn more about writing wills. Secret World will be serving cream teas and other refreshments throughout the afternoon and there will also be opportunities for visitors to meet the resident wildlife and hear about the work the charity does.

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Gull avoids a sticky end

A curious gull caused much amusement for the staff at Secret World Wildlife Rescue in East Huntspill.

A call came in from a concerned member of public who spotted a herring gull covered in blood at Isleport Business Park in Highbridge.

Response driver Graham Hardes rushed to the scene and managed to catch the gull, bringing him back to our centre.

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Hearts melt as otter cub rescued

Rescued orphaned otter cub makes hearts melt at Secret World Wildlife Rescue
 
A tiny otter cub was rescued on Saturday (10th February) in Bridgwater, Somerset by Secret World Wildlife Rescue – the charity’s first otter cub of the year.
 
Hidden in reeds, the young cub had been calling for its mother since 5am, but its calls were becoming weaker.
 
Being only too aware of the bitterly cold weather and how long the cub had been calling, Laura Benfield, Head of Animal Care at Secret World, went with animal carer Sarah Tingvoll to assess the situation and rescue her if necessary. The cub was very feisty when she was rescued with nets but soon became very weak and tired after being left for so long. 

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Love is in the Air for Batty Pair

Love is in the air on Valentine’s Day for a rare grey long-eared bat which was rescued in October by Secret World Wildlife Rescue in East Huntspill.
The bat, named Gandalf by rescuers, is about to be released by the RSPCA with a new-found female companion, Merri. Gandalf and Merri were paired up together at RSPCA West Hatch Wildlife Centre in Taunton and they will both be released together in the spring. 

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